Sinister Realm - World of Evil
Shadow Kingdom Records
Heavy / Doom Metal
8 songs (43' 27")
Release year: 2013
Shadow Kingdom Records
Reviewed by Andy

Sinister Realm's last album, The Crystal Eye, never really resonated with me as much as some of my colleagues. The doomy sound was a little too repetitive for my liking, and their songwriting just didn't quite match their musicianship. World of Evil, on the other hand, is an incremental but substantial improvement. It's less doom (though the influence is still there) and way more heavy metal, and their songs are catchier while still remaining heavy.

For one thing, the first few tracks are driving and energetic, with a lot more fire to them. Alex Kristof's vocals feel cleaner and more bombastic, but without getting silly, and the two-guitar riffs of Bell Strikes Fear also bear testimony to the new and improved songwriting. It shows what a small change in direction on an album can do for better or worse; these songs aren't really that different from their predecessors, but the minor-key choruses seem more heroic-sounding and rousing than they used to be. The downside may be the mix, though I'm not absolutely sure. The musicians all get their piece here...but it's almost too balanced; they are missing a difficult-to-define raw edge that would help them out a lot if they could get it just right. The title track is slower, with a memorable prechorus and chorus, and more emphasis on a Dio-era Black Sabbath sound. Kristof's powerful vocals drive this one along, but bassist John Gaffney lays down a thick, flat substrate like an asphalt road that enables the power of the guitar solos and main riff to reach their full measure.

The Ghosts of Nevermore is probably the weakest track on the album. It's a bit mid-tempo and doomy with less urgency to it, but it doesn't have quite as strong a melody as the first three tracks. Prophets of War, on the other hand, showcases Sinister Realm's combination of thundering doom/heavy metal perfectly, as it inexorably marches on; the overall sound of this one and the instrumental bridge and soloing make this one of the high points on the album, even though I felt Kristof's delivery kind of gets buried under all the pounding of the instruments. Final track Four Black Witches is good too, easily moving from a faster, regular beat to a slower, crawling one.

This is an evolutionary, not revolutionary album, and heavy metal with doom elements is somewhat of a well-trodden path, but World of Evil is a very good listen. One feels that Sinister Realm is on the right track as it tweaks its sound.

Killing Songs :
Bell Strikes Fear, World of Evil, Prophets of War
Andy quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Sinister Realm that we have reviewed:
Sinister Realm - The Crystal Eye reviewed by Alex and quoted 85 / 100
Sinister Realm - Sinister Realm reviewed by Adam and quoted 91 / 100
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